Okay folks, here it is and better late than never. There were so many idependant films that only garnered a limited release in UK cinemas that I’m looking forward to catching on DVD in 2014, these being; The Act of Killing, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Like Father, Like Son, Frances Ha, The Selfish Giant and Short Term 12.
But with that aside and of the 106 new cinematic films I watched throughout 2013. Here is my Top 10 Film Review of the year…
A world-weary former BBC journalist (Steve Coogan) picks up the true story of a Philomena Lee and her search for her son, who was taken away from her during the 1950’s after she became pregnant out-of-wedlock and was forced to live in a convent.
Philomena carries a compelling narrative, that will profoundly move you, make you laugh, whilst overflowing you with anger. The British film of the year.
Set in the near future, Frank (Frank Langella) a retired jewel thief gets a new lease on life when he is introduced to a surprising new companion. With the help of his new friend, he attempts to woo a local librarian (Susan Sarandon) and resume his criminal escapades.
Along with a plausible version of our future, first time filmmaker, Jake Schreier presents an irresistible little tale of friendship mixed with the poignancy of the early stages of memory loss. Frank Langella gives an endearing performance.
Only Lovers Left Alive takes place against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier and follows, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) a reclusive bloodsucker and underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, who reunites with the love of his life, Eve (Tilda Swinton) a fellow vampire. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska).
Seen at the London Film Festival.
Beautifully shot on its atmospheric palette, Jim Jarmusch’s film is also funny and incredibly well written. Littered with literacy and musical references, Only Lovers Left Alive is a delight to watch, from beginning to end.
Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), and Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips’ unarmed ship. In the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.
Contending a riveting battle of wills between its titular hostage and lead antagonist, exemplary filmmaker, Paul Greengrass takes you on a 134 minute claustrophobic and tension filled voyage. Tom Hanks also delivers, in what is a career best, a touching and humanistic performance.
After India’s (Mia Wasikowska) father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother (Nicole Kidman). Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
Through an unnerving script and some meticulous auditory and visuals, this masterfully directed dysfunctional family thriller delivers an unforgettably engrossing experience.
Set in the South two years before the Civil War, ‘Django Unchained’ follows Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive.
Eclectic casting, his continued and immense talent for poetic scripting, and whilst serious its slavery undertones; Tarantino pulls no punches in serving up a hilarious, sprawling and thrilling homage to the spaghetti western – that’s ridiculously and addictively entertaining.
Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan (Liam James) finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his funny, clandestine friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up to and begins to finally find his place in the world – all during a summer he will never forget.
Sam Rockwell displays precise comedic timing to steal every scene he’s in this poignant coming of age story. It carries an exceptionally snappy and emotional rich script, in which a single line of dialogue isn’t wasted. One of the best and funniest films of the year.
After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal (Alec Baldwin), elegant New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves into her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again.
Uncompromisingly raw in examining complex relationships and class, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine grows richer, more sympathetic and beyond brilliant as it progresses. Cate Blanchett delivers a tour de force and sure to be Oscar-winning performance as the neurotic titular anti-heroine.
“Sit back, enjoy the ride”
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) who is in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone–tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.
A simple involving human story, combined the most physically engaging visuals and pulsating sound ever committed to celluloid. Alfonso Cuaron’s intense and awe-inspiring event picture demands to been seen on the largest canvas possible. Miss it at your peril.
And my film of the year is…
For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden.
Taking a complete stranglehold on you from start-to-finish, exemplary filmmaker, Kathryn Bigelow crafts a searing, intelligent and deeply thought-provoking political thriller of an epic manhunt.